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So the big El Alamein game came and went over the Summer …

FFDD 000

It was indeed big, although, in the end, I’m not convinced the squares made as much of a contribution to managing the sprawling engagement as I had hoped they would.

An upside of the venture was that I got to fit out my Vichy French as Free French (or Fighting French, if you prefer) … the stalwarts who joined Montgomery’s army in the desert … heroes of Bir Hakeim and El Alamein.

FFDD 00(some new kit to give a Libyan configuration to my Moroccan French)

The French forces retained some of their original weapons though had much Anglo-American gear too.  They had little bespoke armour, using British tanks and theatre converted vehicles.  Yay … real world conversions – a lot down to the inventive mind of Adrien Conus …

FFDD 10(hard fighting at Alamein: FFL go in, supported by a Tanake unit, carrier conversion and Conus gun)

The Crusader tank is a lovely QRF model … the rest I had to build.  The Tanake had to built from the chassis up.  The carrier and Marmon-Herrington are what I have previously termed ‘pointless conversions’ (you can get them – or the basic vehicle anyway – just I had something nearly suitable so went about it the hard way!)

Tanake

FFDD 01

This is an armoured car built on a Dodge truck … so my work began with making some cosmetic changes to a QRF (nearly right) Chevrolet … (basically the bonnet/hood) and then painting the inside before assembly …

FFDD 03

The back end is all thin card … (recycling the backing card of the superglue with which it was assembled) … meanwhile fabricate an armoured shield with light gun and MG on a pintle, ready to drop in (this just makes painting and assembly easier) …

FFDD 04(we should end up with something that looks like this)

I’ve then made up wheel arches,  finished and sanded in the surfaces and detailing with Miliiput and made ready to paint.

FFDD 05

I was very pleased … it’s a great vehicle to have to do … (it’s like Indiana Jones meets Lawrence of Arabia – or is that just me?) … and it turned out easier than expected …

FFDD 06(Yesthatphil’s 15mm Dodge Tanake built on the QRF Chevrolet truck)

OK I got the height of the unusual back end wrong: I’ll have to find an example (they were all hand built so do differ) that matches or, at some point, I will need to go back and alter it – but indulge me for now: it was made to a deadline.

FFDD 07(top view and speedy insert)

As with the other vehicles, insignia was added in the less hurried hours after the game.

FFDD 10a

Hotchkiss Carrier and Marmon-Herrington

The ‘pointless’ conversions:  once upon a time I had bought too many Skytrex Humber light armoured cars, and have been grateful for chances to use them.  It’s completely unsuitable for a Marmon-Herrington but with the size and shape changed and bigger wheels … well it’s almost convincing …

FFDD 11(so … reshape, add big wheels, restyle the front, add those tell-tale ribs on the bonnet …) 

Of course the real ‘conversion’ here is adding a French crew, Breda gun mount (rather than a turret) and coal scuttle gun shield.

FFDD 12(again the basics are card, the finishing details are Milliput epoxy … and paint …)

FFDD 12a(Yesthatphil’s French Marmon-Herrington/Breda)

The Hotchkiss Carrier

In this case the unnecessary work was the result of Chris giving me a PSC Loyd Carrier which I didn’t have a particular use for (so it sat on the bench unassembled for a while) … the the French requirements came up and (actually looking for a portee), I found pictures of the carrier SP … Great, I said … I could use that carrier.

Chris agreed, and pointed out that it would almost right (‘good enough’) as there was little difference between the carriers other than the Loyd’s having more wheels.  Well, that’s not good enough then … is it …

FFDD 13

… so in addition to the ‘main job’ of creating a suitable fighting compartment and adding the big (well, relatively speaking, big) gun and shield … I had to shorten the whole thing …  You’d never know, though … right?

FFDD 14(… and just add paint)

Again, I think it turned out fine.  From the contemporary photos it looks like the gun isn’t long enough … I think they mostly used a ‘long’ version.

FFDD 15(French Universal Carrier with Hotchkiss 25mm AT … 15mm conversion from PSC parts)

Both of these pointless exercises have added a lot of value for me … there was going to be work involved in assembling these unusual vehicles anyway … but doing it the hard way has cleared a number of odds and ends from my desk (things have found a home) and the models have already seen action in the big game.

Nevertheless, the Tanake has to be my favourite.  A true ship of the desert.

FFDD 00a

Postscript … I’ve titled this part ‘1’ … the keen-eyed will have spotted the Conus gun in the Alamein pictures.  It was very much a quick stand in … and I need to go back and do the job properly.  And I mentioned portees.  So there will be a part 2.

And there were some soldiers too.

Plus I think the French vs Italian engagement on the Southern flank will make a good PBI game – and that will be a good reason to complete those last details.  It all comes together sometimes.

In due course I will transfer the Tanake build to the modelling section.

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Zis 10 01

This is another level back from the front and a little exercise to add some extra shunting capacity to my Russians.  The Zis-10 articulated truck …

Zis 10 02

I’ve made it from the Zvezda Zis-5 … it isn’t complex enough a ‘conversion’ to add to the modelling page – but I thought it make a nice little post for the front page.  Something different, it is another variation we can add to the list of things you can do with the excellent little truck models.

Zis 10 03(The Zis-10 articulated truck)

Here are a couple of tractors I made previously (for shifting boats) …

Zis 10 04

Zis 10 05(Bronekater being shifted by road – yes, this is how they did it)

Of course the gun crew is still on the deck as this model is generally deployed on a river.  You’ll have to use your imagination.

Here’s a quick assemby of a new Zis-10

Zis 10 06

I used the Katyusha kit because of the extra axles.   I could have have scratch-built the cargo bed but happened to have a spare one from a cheap die-cast toy that looked just about right.

Zis 10 07(P.B.Eye-Candy – a 1:100 Zis-10 model based on the Zvezda ‘Art of Tactic’ kit)

I’ll base it up properly when it gets issued to a unit – but here it is with some green paint on it.

Zis 10 08

I’m quite pleased with it.

The Red Army has a bigger truck.

 

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OK … a number of things –

I’m still experimenting with decals … how to use them and which ones … I’ve got this winter thing going on (appropriate, you might think, to the Summer of 2017) … and, well, I had to buy something at Partizan

I have a little rule … I try to spend a little at every show (whether I need anything or not): spending helps the world go around – and whatever I buy I have to paint (so as not to let the pile called ‘dormant projects’ get any higher) …

For all its many merits as a show, Partizan doesn’t have much for me but (in addition to books and scenics) I did find a 1:100 Zvezda T60 which I haven’t built or reviewed yet so why not …

Well it turns out I have already done that (here … ) and the appropriate slot in the divisional box is already filled.  I am sure all enthusiasts will occasionally forget they have bought something and get one again …

So, to fufill the second directive (to build and paint) I decided those airborne troops in Winter garb might possible deserve their own, Winter camo, support.  A T60 with whitwash swaths and snow-suited tank riders:

(Zvezda’s 1:100 T60 given a P.B.Eye-Candy makeover)

Brushes up nicely, of course.

I put a little red star on the glacis … occasionally you see them on Soviet armour – but less is definitely more.  The Russian for star is zvezda, as I’m sure you all know.   And that’s what inspired an interlude of tinkering.

The decal sets are the I-94 ones.  I had good results with the aviation symbols and vehicle plates but had also bought a Red Army slogans one which I hadn’t tried.  The lettering looked a little thin to me (not exagerated to the extent that you might need on 15mm/1:100 vehicles).

So I tried to liven up my aerosans …

The ‘guards’ slogan is 15mm … it’s kind of nice but you struggle to see it if you don’t get close up.  Thank heavens for the wonders of modern digital technology.

So I tried a 20mm slogan on a PSC T34

It’s the later, big turret 85, otherwise I’d not have got the decal on – but I do think the 20mm lettering is better for these models …*

But really what these pictures show is where mobile phones are, these days … the pictures are taken with my Samsung Galaxy  … now I did try to set the focus up properly as I wanted you to be able to see the decals – even so, when I reviewed the results I was quite surprised.

It made me remember when I did a magazine shoot back in the 80s with my (then) 35mm SLR … I got passably professional results but only after quite a bit of setting up.  How things have moved on.  And I guess what we do on our blogs today will look primitive tomorrow.

Here’s a T60 beauty contest.

A Zvezda win in my book … and they win on price, hands down.

*******

*the PSC has Zvezda running gear … something I did for variety and compatibility … I also think, on reflection, that I’ve probably got the front tactical symbol turned through 90°, thus, perhaps, a talking point.

**the aerosans are from QRF … they’ve used one of mine on the website 😉 …

You can find I-94 on the internet or you can get them at UK shows from minibits

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VV 04

More lovely 1:1200 naval … I recently came across Revell’s reissued Littorio Class model (boxed as Roma) and could not resist.  Splendid and simple little model.

There’s more on the Reviews page

VV 03

VV 05

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PPRS 01

A page full of reviews has been added as I get round to photographing some of the recent additions to the P.B.Eye-Candy collection.

Scroll down the reviews page for …

Martin’s new Scouts range

PPRS 04

Some thoughts on PSC vehicles …

PSC rev 06

And my recent trials of decals and markings.

decals 05

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All quiet here for a few weeks I know but things have been moving on … there’s a couple of accessions updates to log and I’ll add some reviews and modelling notes in due course …

AK47

ak-specials-01

Some special forces have arrived: French inspired security types (Professionals, you’d think) made up from the excellent Peter Pig French Paras plus some other odd spares …

ak-specials-01a

ak-specials-01b

ak-specials-02(P.B.Eye-Candy: Peter Pig 15mm figures for AK47)

You might notice there is one of those splendid Recoilless Rifle motor scooters in the unit …

ak-specials-03

Home made from the PP weapon and some aero modelling spares, I think it turned out OK and has been on my list of cool kit for some time (a box has been ticked)  – remarkably, French paras had them in Algeria …

ak-specials-04

PBI/NQM (WWII)

… and I have cobbled together a PBI platoon from some trial items Chris Kemp gave me …

Now he’s a big fan of Plastic Soldier Company (not really my cup of tea) and insisted I try a Blitz truck sprue and some Fallshirmjaeger …

I built the trucks OK …

blitz-trucks-05

I’ll insert a link to a review when it’s done (so you can see what I think of them) … they’re OK, and I’ll use them to ship about a platoon or so of paratroopers.

I added a pack of PP metal ones to the plastics to make up a viable unit (and I have to say liked them a lot more than the PSC ones) … anyway, here are some pictures …

fallshirmjaeger-01

fallshirmjaeger-03

fallshirmjaeger-04

fallshirmjaeger-05(P.B.Eye-Candy: 15mm Fallshirmjaeger for PBI/NQM)

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In a week where 20th Century wargaming has taken off … (Eastern front, Cold War, WWI and me planning a naval game) … it is time to post some recent photos …

VBL 16 01

Flanked by some QRF ferrets and some PP regulars, the threat of a game spurred me to finish a VBL scratchbuild I had had lingering on my desk for (literally) years …

The VBL is a really cool lightweight armoured jeep.  Not often you will hear me use that sort of hip terminology but it seems appropriate here … the VBL is also just so French …

VBL 16 05(follow link for VBL info and picture source)

Mine comes because I had a QRF BA64 which I really thought had so many issues it needed recycling and the VBL looked like a good model to build on the redundant chassis.

Actually it is quite a challenge, and every panel is scratchbuilt from card or tin sheet … the result is quite pleasing little model best described as inspired by the VBL (rather than a scale model of it) – given it will find use in AK47 Africa, its knocked-off characteristics are probably entirely appropriate …

VBL 16 03

(Phil’s ‘cut’n’shut’ VBL … it’s very French, you know … )

VBL 16 02

In the pictures you will also see a rather large container/trailer … also recently added to the scenery box …

This is another of those pound toys, gutted, primed and repainted for the table.

VBL 16 04

Worth every penny, I think …

Also now finished, that Stalingrad pastiche inspired by the Univermag store …

Gen St 01(Phil’s finished Stalingrad pastiche)

As described a few blogs back, it is knocked together from Warbases MDF components.  I finished it to match the other Stalingrad style concrete ruins … simple but effective …

Gen St 04(MDF by Warbases, figures by Peter Pig half track converted from a Zvezda Russian truck)

Gen St 02

I decided to dress it up a bit with some Soviet propaganda posters … so downloaded a few and printed them in a viable size on my basic inkjet printer.   I was really just messing around an hoping I might get something usable from the time … Actually I think it ‘makes’ the model …

Gen St 03

So some more credible progress on my outstanding projects pile …

Meanwhile there’s those other games to report … and that naval game for CoW … and I was going to sort out that Soviet Artillery park …

Best get on, then …

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